Federal Legislative Update October 2012
WILL YOU STAND WITH US? PROTECT KIDS, NOT CEOS!
When Congress returns to Washington, DC after the election, they will be debating what to do about looming cuts to education and other programs, tax cuts for the wealthy and the middle class, and potentially long-term deficit reduction. The outcome of these debates will have a direct impact on students, educators, and public education! At stake are services to over nine million students, and the potential loss of over 78,000 education jobs.
Will Congress choose kids over CEOs, or will they continue to give tax breaks to the wealthiest while slashing programs that serve vulnerable children? Will they stop putting the burden for deficit reduction on the shoulders of kids, or will they continue to let corporations get away without paying their fair share?
Now is the time to make our voices heard. Don’t let them make the wrong choices!
Take Action Today:
- Watch the new video from NEA and Americans for Tax Fairness — “Kids Not CEOs” and sign up to learn more.
- Tell Congress to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction and reject more cuts to education.
- See state by state data on what pending cuts would mean for students and educators where you live.
- Visit your Members of Congress when they are back home campaigning. Tell them to stop the cuts to education and to make sure the top two percent pay their fair share. Get talking points and other information to use in your visits from NEA’s Education Votes website.
ARE YOU READY TO CAST YOUR BALLOT?
With less than three weeks to go before the election, educators across the nation are fired up to cast their ballots and get out the vote. The outcome of elections from the White House and Congress, to statehouses, to local school boards will have significant impact on educators, students, families, and communities across the nation.
As trusted community members, educators are just the civic-minded folks who can encourage other eligible voters to make casting a ballot their top priority in November. Face-to-face conversations about the importance of voting and which candidates are best for public education can have enormous impact when educators are the ones delivering that message.
In the remaining weeks before Election Day, you can take a few simple steps to make sure you and others in your community are informed, ready, and able to cast your ballots:
- Talk with your colleagues, friends, and family. Make sure everyone is ready and able to vote. Read about fellow educators who are taking the lead to make sure their friends and neighbors exercise their right to vote.
- Make sure you are registered and ready to vote. Use our online tools to make sure you are registered and get other critical voting information.
- Check out www.canivote.org to find your polling place and learn what kind of ID to bring with you to vote. See if your state has early voting, so you can cast your ballot right away!
CHEERS AND JEERS
President Obama, who said during the second presidential debate, “We’ve got to make sure that we have the best education system in the world….I want everybody to get a great education and we’ve worked hard to make sure that student loans are available…, but I also want to make sure that community colleges are offering slots for workers to get retrained for the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs of the future.”
|The Supreme Court, which rejected an appeal from Ohio challenging early voting requirements. By declining to hear the appeal, the Court’s action leaves intact rulings from two federal courts in Ohio that require the state to open the polls for all voters, including military personnel, on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election.|
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who criticized President Obama for proposing funds to hire more teachers, saying “hiring school teachers is not going to raise the growth of the U.S. economy over the next three-to-four years.”
WILL YOU HELP US SAVE 78,000 EDUCATION JOBS?
Is your job at risk? What about the teacher in the classroom next door? The bus driver, cafeteria worker, or paraprofessional? The community college professor? And what will looming job losses mean for your students and their education? A new NEA analysis of the September report by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) finds that the across-the-board cuts set to go into effect January 2 could result in a loss of over 78,000 education jobs. These cuts will also reduce education program funding dramatically, impacting essential services to over nine million students.
The only way to avoid the indiscriminate, mandatory cuts is for lawmakers to agree to replace them with a balanced plan. Such a plan must include raising revenues from those most able to contribute to economic recovery — by allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire and closing loopholes that let so many corporations avoid paying their fair share.
Congress has left Washington, DC and won’t return until mid-November, when these critical issues will take center stage. Now is the time to make our voices heard. We need to tell Congress that education and other critical programs cannot continue to bear the brunt of deficit reduction. The choice is stark: Congress can protect students and their education, or it can continue to coddle the wealthiest two percent and corporations that ship jobs overseas. Don’t let them make the wrong choice!
Take Action Today:
• Tell Congress to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction and reject more cuts to education.
• See new state by state data on what the pending cuts would mean for students and educators where you live.
• Visit your Members of Congress when they are back home campaigning. Tell them to stop the cuts to education and to make sure the top two percent pay their fair share.
HONORING A PUBLIC EDUCATION CHAMPION
This week, NEA honored Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), who is retiring after serving in the United States Congress since 2001. A staunch advocate of public education, Platts was recognized before the NEA Board of Directors for his unwavering opposition to private school vouchers — boldly voting repeatedly against his Party leadership to block voucher schemes. Representative Platts was also honored for his fight to increase special education funding and his advocacy for school safety and anti-bullying policies. In presenting Representative Platts with the NEA “Golden Apple” award, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “There aren’t many Members of Congress who are as passionate about public education as Congressman Platts…..it will be hard to fill his shoes, but we hope that his example will serve as an inspiration to the next person who represents his district.” Learn more.
CHEERS AND JEERS
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, who this week ordered state officials not to enforce the state’s new voter-ID law in the November election. The judge found that state officials had not made enough progress in supplying photo IDs for those who lack them, saying it seemed likely that some otherwise qualified voters would be disenfranchised. Read more.
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, at last week’s Education Nation summit reiterated his claims that class size doesn’t make a difference in educational quality as well as his support for private school vouchers. Governor Romney also used his time at Education Nation to strike out against teachers unions and limit educator participation in the political process, saying, “I don’t mean to be terribly partisan, but . . . I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers’ unions going into campaigns.” Read the full transcript of Romney’s remarks and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s response.